Monday, June 21, 2010

Fantasy Football Offseason: Wide Receivers

Anyone whose read my articles for FFT knows that my mantra is: Receivers can win leagues. I strongly believe in targeting consistent proven elite receivers early, and worrying and targeting a slew of high risk/high reward young running backs later. Every year there are a number of young running back who break out, and if you snag at least one of them you're in good shape. Receivers are also less injury prone, so the odds of one of your studs going down is diminished, last longer a bonus in keeper leagues, and those top receivers are so much more consistent than the lower tier guys, that grabbing 2-3 stud WR's gives you an immense advantage over the competition.

Top Gun: Andre Johnson. The best receiver in the league, who was the Texans' offense last year. This guy is money in the bank for 100+ receptions, around 1500 yards, and I even see an improvement upon the 9 touchdown performance he had last season. The only WR that should be drafted in the first round, Johnson is a straight BEAST!

Value Picks: Steve Smith (CAR) and Calvin Johnson. Smith developed a very nice rapport with Matt Moore at the end of last season, and regardless of whether Moore or Clausen are at the helm, they can't do worse than Jake Delhomme, and Smith will rebound from a disappointing 2009. Megatron on the other hand is one of the most talented wideouts in the league. The Lions added Jahvid Best to give their offense some balance and as Matthew Stafford better accustoms himself to the NFL, Megatron will explode in 2010.

Bounceback: Greg Jennings. The Packers' offense is too explosive, and with Driver ailing and aging, Jennings will pick up more pieces of the pie, and more importantly more touchdowns, which killed his value in 2009.

Breakout Years: Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, and Mike Wallace. All 3 are young, extremely talented, and poised to become their team's WR1. They all benefit from being relatively unknown, and should all put WR2 numbers for a WR3 or lower price. All 3 also make fantastic dynasty/keeper picks.

Avoid: Wes Welker. Trust me, you don't want to be dealing with the worry of when he will return all season, and his touchdown upside is severely limited with Moss in tow, and the addition of Rob Gronkowski. Welker's backup Julian Edelman makes for a nice flier pick in case Welker misses extended time.

Busts: Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colston, and Miles Austin. Nothing against these guys, they're all talented, and will have fine seasons, but none will be worth the WR1 price you'll be drafting them at. Fitzy is looking at a QB situation in Arizona that is highly unsettled, and AZ should become a run-first team behind Beanie Wells until their QB situation is resolved. The loss of Anquan Boldin will hurt him as teams will now be even more heavily focused on locking him down. Colston is going to have to keep fighting for looks with a slew of other options including a running game that garnered a lot of steam in 2009. I'd rather target Meachem later if you insist on getting a Saints WR. Austin simply won't repeat his breakout success in 2009. Rookie Dez Bryant will steal some of the spotlight, and Jason Witten will see more red zone looks in 2010. Additionally, I think the Cowboys will and should pay more attention to their running game particularly Felix Jones who is miles better than Marion Barber.

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